One of the owners of several Mexican restaurants that were raided last September has pleaded not guilty to hiring and harboring illegal immigrants.
Hector Fuentes yesterday pleaded not guilty in federal court to three counts of harboring undocumented aliens for profit, as well as charges of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit, aiding and abetting document fraud, according to The Associated Press. He is free on bail, and his brother, Guillermo, also faces charges. Hector Fuentes owns Cancun Mexican restaurants in Biddeford and Waterville, and Guillermo owns the Fajita Grill in Westbrook, which federal agents raided last fall following an investigation. Homeland Security interviewed four illegal immigrants, who said they worked for the Fuentes brothers at a restaurant in Atlanta, and that at least a dozen employees moved to Maine along with the Fuentes brothers in 2006.
The brothers face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants, as well as up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $3,000 for each unauthorized immigrant hired.